Don’t marry a man for money. If money is your real object, the older and uglier he is, the better; for nothing should come between you and the chosen idol of your affection. If you marry one for his money, he will find it out shortly. What sublime contempt a man must have for one who simply loves his pocket-book! Why not love his farm, or lumber-yard, or herd of cattle? The love of money is a miserly pretence of affection that leads to discontent, distrust, and disgust when they find it out. Besides, wealthy men are men of care. The wife of a noted millionnaire has had her husband’s body stolen from its vault, has been long kept in agony, is an object of pity to all who know her.
Another wife was heard to say, “Why, I don’t have the privilege, nor the money, nor the good times that my girl Bridget enjoys. I am poor and anxious and depressed, and weary of hearing my husband say, over and over again, ‘You are fixing for the poor-house.’ He really thinks and believes we will end life in the poor-house; and yet he enjoys a princely income.” Thousands of such men carry their load of care, and load of wealth, and load of anxiety, and how can they carry any burden of love? Don’t marry a very small man—a little fellow far below all proportion; try to get some form to admire, something to shape things too, and someone who is not lost in a crowd completely, who is too little to admire and too small for beauty.
You may need strong arms and brave hands to protect you. You will need hands to provide for and maintain you, and a good form is a fine beginning of manhood or womanhood. Mental greatness is not measured by size of brain or bodily proportions. Great men are neither always wise nor always large; they are more often of more medium build, and well balanced in gifts of mental and physical development. Of the two, a very large man is better than a small one, and a medium large woman likewise.
Don’t marry too young. The right age to marry is a matter of taste; twenty-one for girls, and twenty-four for men may be a little arbitrary, but certainly is sensible. The happy early marriages are rare. It too often happens that love is mistaken, or poorly informed, or lacks an anchor in good judgment. There is no use of reasoning about it,—love is love, and will marry in spite of reason, and in some cases it runs away with its choice and repents it a thousand times soon after.
But be sensible, for a life contract should be a sensible one. What is the use of throwing away one season—skipping girlhood or boyhood to rush into maturity and maternity? The records of divorce courts tell the silly and sorrowful stories of many a mismated pair, married too young and slowly repenting of their rashness. Ask of your truest friends; take counsel; be above foolishness. Don’t marry a villain. Many a girl is ripe for an adventure, and in appearance nothing more resembles an angel than a keen and designing villain—a thoroughbred; not a gambler merely, but worse, a wreck! Such men may be wary, artful, deceitful, attractive.
They are crafty; their trade compels it. They may be handsome, often so; they may be oily and slick—most of them are. They may live rich and expensive lives for a season; ill-gotten gains are not lasting. Heaven pity the girl that marries one of these adventurers, for the end is bitterness! A friend met one on the Pacific road, married him, and learned to her sorrow that he drank to excess, swore like a pirate, lived in debauchery, and early offered to swap wives for a season with a boon-companion. “And that man,” she said, “was as handsome as a dude, as slick as an auctioneer, as oily as a pedler; I loved him only one day after marriage.” Don’t marry a hypocrite. Of all things get sincerity. Get the genuine article. If you get a hypocrite, he is brass jewelry, and will easily tarnish. Make careful inquiry, see that he is all that he pretends to be, or never trust him.
The habit of deceit is one of a lifetime. Some join churches for no other reason than to cloak iniquity. It is not the rule by any means; it is a too common exception. One who goes from city to city and captivates too many by his oil of blandness; one who has no business, an idler; one who apes the rich and is ground down in poverty; one who lacks the courage to live like himself and had rather live a lie and deceive the world around him,—is an unfit companion, and will bear watching.